Romanian gambling bill passes with back tax and VLT amendments

Online gaming operators looking to secure a Romanian licence will be expected to pay a tax on their activities in the country dating back as far as 2009, following the approval of a number of amendments to the country's proposed iGaming bill by the Chamber of Deputies.

The Chamber of Deputies voted late Wednesday to approve Emergency Ordinance 92/2014 governing gambling, adopting a number of amendments that affect both land-based and online gaming operators.

The amendment proposed by the government’s Legal Commission on Discipline and Immunities to tax operators on activities since the passage of the 2009 gambling law has now been added to the ordinance.

iGaming operators will be given a grace period of 90 days to pay back taxes, based on 20 per cent of gross gaming revenue from Romanian players over the past five years. The amount of tax due will be calculated by the country’s gambling regulator, the National Office for Gambling (ONJN), with operators required to submit a financial audit to help in the assessment process.

The Chamber of Deputies also approved two amendments concerning video lottery terminals (VLTs), which will no longer be considered a lottery-type game, meaning that the National Lottery will lose the exclusive right to operate the machines.

Following Wednesday's approval, the legislation will now be held by the Chamber’s secretary for a two-day standstill period, during which an appeal may be filed against the legislation in Romania’s Constitutional Court. If no challenge is filed, it will be sent to President Klaus Iohannis to be signed into law.

While this brings legislation closer, the government must still adopt the so-called implementing norms, which are subject to a European Commission-enforced standstill period ending July 10th. Once these pass into law, the ONJN can begin issuing iGaming licences.

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